The Glyphosate Saga : Press conference, 27 September 2017

The Monsanto Papers : proof of scientific falsification

Video published on 18 Oct 2017 by Greens EFA.

Speakers:
Michèle RIVASI, Greens/EFA MEP
Kathryn FORGIE, Attorney / Avocate, Cabinet Andrus Wagstaff
Carey GILLAM, journalist, Research Director U.S. Right to Know

The Monsanto Papers, secret internal documents, have now been made public thanks to over 10,000 farmers who have taken Monsanto to court, accusing the company’s glyphosate weedkillers of causing them to develop a cancer called non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The documents reveal the various strategies and tactics used by Monsanto to ensure that they can sell their star product, RoundUp, despite the clear dangers for humans and for the environment.

Alternatives to pesticides

EU Parliament MEPs reject endocrine disrupters proposal

Identifying endocrine disruptors : Parliament blocks plans exempting some pesticides,
European Commission will have to come up with a new proposal without delay

Strasbourg : on 4th October, the European Parliament MEPs took a plenary vote – Objection pursuant to Rule 106: draft Commission regulation amending Annex II to Regulation (EC)1107/2009 by setting out scientific criteria for the determination of endocrine disrupting properties – and rejected the criteria to identify endocrine disruptors by 389 votes against and 235 for (majority at 376).

Substances having endocrine disrupting properties are substances that alter functions of the body’s endocrine (hormone) system and hence may have harmful effects on humans and wildlife.

EU Parliament Press Release

MEPs say that the Commission exceeded its mandate by proposing to exempt substances which are actually designed to attack an organism’s endocrine system, e.g. in pests, from the identification criteria.

Next steps

The objection, proposed by MEPs Jytte Guteland and Bas Eickhout, was approved by  389 votes to 235, with 70 abstentions, producing the absolute majority needed to block the proposal. The European Commission will therefore have to draft a new version of the text, taking into account Parliament’s input.

Quick Facts

EU legislation requires that pesticides or biocide substances have no endocrine-disrupting effects on other species than the ones targeted. To apply  this legislation, the EU needs a list of scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors.

The Commission proposal related to the scientific criteria for identifying endocrine-disrupting properties of chemical substances. The identification of these scientific criteria is a first step towards measures reducing their presence and protecting citizens’ health.

The European Court of Justice ruled in December 2015 that the EU Commission had breached EU law by failing to publish criteria for determining endocrine disrupters due at the end of 2013. MEPs have repeatedly urged the EU to clamp down on the substances.

A UNEP/WHO report called endocrine disruptors a “global threat”, referring inter alia to the upward trends in many endocrine-related disorders in humans and wildlife populations. There is evidence of adverse reproductive effects (infertility, cancers, malformations) which could also affect thyroid function, brain function, obesity, metabolism, insulin and glucose homeostasis, it says.

  • Identifying endocrine disruptors: Parliament blocks plans exempting some pesticides, EU Press Room Ref.: 20171002IPR85122 Created: 04-10-2017 – 13:45
  • EU Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on the making available on the market of CE marked fertilising products and amending Regulations (EC) No 1069/2009 and (EC) No 1107/2009 (COM(2016)0157 – C8-0123/2016 – 2016/0084(COD)), PE 599.728v02-00 A8-0270/2017.
  • EU MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION pursuant to Rule 106(2), (3) and (4)(c) of the Rules of Procedure, on the draft Commission regulation amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 by setting out scientific criteria for the determination of endocrine disrupting properties (D048947/06 – 2017/2872(RSP)), PE611.468v01-00 B8-0542/2017.

Endocrine Society eager to collaborate with EU lawmakers on science-based regulations

Washington, DC – The Endocrine Society, the world’s largest organization of endocrinologists, welcomed the European Parliament vote Wednesday objecting to proposed criteria that would have failed to identify endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) currently causing harm to public health.

In the months leading up to the vote, the Society, whose members are scientists and physicians who specialize in researching and treating hormone health conditions, repeatedly expressed concerns the rejected criteria would not ensure a high level of health and environmental protection.

An EDC is a chemical or mixture of chemicals that can cause adverse health effects by interfering with hormones in the body. EDCs contribute to serious health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and neurodevelopmental and reproductive disorders. Scientific criteria to effectively and regulate EDCs are critical to ensure the health and wellbeing of the public for this and future generations.

There are more than 85,000 manufactured chemicals, of which thousands may be EDCs. EDCs are found in everyday products and throughout the environment.

The rejected criteria failed to support the latest scientific evidence. The proposal contained arbitrary exemptions for chemicals specifically designed to disrupt target insect endocrine systems that have similarities in humans and wildlife. The Endocrine Society, the European Society for Endocrinology, and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology previously released a statement strongly objecting to the addition of loopholes in the criteria as they create frameworks where potentially dangerous chemicals cannot be defined as EDCs by law.

New, science-based criteria need to be developed to maximize the ability to identify chemicals that pose a threat to human health. It will be critical for scientists with expertise in hormone biology and endocrine systems to be deeply involved in the processes to identify EDCs. The Endocrine Society’s experts are prepared to play a role providing scientific guidance on the development of effective criteria for identifying EDCs.

Vote to reject flawed EDC criteria creates opportunity to protect public health, endocrine news-room, October 04, 2017.

Endocrine Disruptors
An Investigation
  1. The Manufacture of a Lie.
  2. A Denial of the State of the Science.
  3. The Interference of the United States.
  4. The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby.

EU ENVI Committee opposes endocrine disrupters proposal with 36 votes to 26

MEPs in European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted an objection to the EU Commission proposal for endocrine disruptors criteria

On 28 September, the ENVI Committee considered and voted Objection pursuant to Rule 106: endocrine disrupting properties – adopts rejection of endocrine disrupters criteria from EU Commission with 36 votes to 26.

Substances having endocrine disrupting properties are substances that alter functions of the body’s endocrine (hormone) system and hence may have harmful effects on humans and wildlife.

Plenary vote to take place next week

Endocrine Disruptors
An Investigation
  1. The Manufacture of a Lie.
  2. A Denial of the State of the Science.
  3. The Interference of the United States.
  4. The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby.

Toxic Time Bombs

Decades of evidence point to the untoward health effects of endocrine disruptor exposures, yet little is being done to regulate the chemicals

Abstract

… “Although the U.S. has been slow to control endocrine disruptors, pressure is mounting for legislators to make significant regulatory changes in Europe, although the European Commission has also dragged its feet. In December 2015, the European Union’s Court of Justice decreed that the Commission had breached EU law by failing to adopt scientific criteria for identifying and regulating endocrine disruptors. The European Parliament met in February 2017 to consider a proposal defining those criteria, but member states decided to postpone a decision. France did not wait for the E.U. to take effective action. As of January 2015, new French legislation outlawed any contact between the known endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) and beverages or food.

The challenge to developing appropriate regulations for endocrine disruptors is that evidence from epidemiology for health effects is indirect and difficult to collect. Cancers abound in modern industrialized societies. Environmental factors are surely involved, yet hard to pinpoint. It took three decades to establish that DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) and DES (diethylstilbestrol) impair health. Both are now strictly controlled, but their effects persist across generations.” …

  • Read Opinion: Toxic Time Bombs, by Robert Martin for The Scientist, September 25, 2017.
  • Featured image Portrait of Sir Edward Charles Dodds credit wikimedia.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Call on MEPs to protect us all from the real dangers of endocrine disruptors

Tell the Members of the European Parliament to put public health before corporate profits and ban harmful EDCs

Monsanto, Bayer, and BASF are about to score a major win by keeping toxic endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that poison our health off the radar.

Recently, a majority of EU member countries accepted a European Commission legislative proposal on EDCs that would leave us vulnerable to these toxic substances — especially children and pregnant women most susceptible to EDCs.

Experts are slamming the proposal, which sets criteria for which chemicals get classified as EDCs. They say it sets the burden of proof of harm so high that most of these harmful chemicals will go unregulated.

Even more, this dangerous text is now in danger of becoming law throughout the EU.

But it’s not over yet. The Commission’s proposal must now be approved by the European Parliament on 3 October, which means there’s still time for our voices to be heard.

Call on MEPs to block the European Commission’s proposal to identify EDCs that leaves us vulnerable to unregulated chemicals.

EDC’s are linked to hormone-related cancers, birth defects, and other serious developmental disorders.

Besides requiring a level of proof to identify a chemical as an EDC that is way too high, the text proposed by the European Commission also foresees unacceptable exemptions. Moreover, it is limited to endocrine disruptors in pesticides and biocides, while these toxic substances hide everywhere –- from our cosmetics and food packaging, to medical devices used in hospitals.

Nearly half a million SumOfUs members and supporters of the EDC-Free Europe coalition have been standing up to the dangerous EU commission proposal on regulating these chemicals already.

It’s time to channel that same energy and remind MEPs from all over Europe that they should put the health and voices of citizens like you before the interests of Bayer and Monsanto lobbyists.

Call on the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to listen to the facts and reject the Commission’s dangerous proposal for endocrine disrupters.

While companies like Monsanto make money off of them, EDCs cost society an estimated 163 billion euros per year in Europe.

But the agrochemical industry is trying to drown out the voices of concerned scientists, public health experts and citizens, with an army of lobbyists in Brussels.

SumOfUs and EDC-Free Europe coalition members have already achieved major victories in the fight against toxic products in Europe. Because we keep coming together to take action, the renewal of toxic pesticides like glyphosate keeps being postponed.

Now, it’s time to pool our efforts once again to remind MEPs to put public health before the profits of Monsanto and Bayer.

We don’t have a moment to lose — the decisive vote will be held in Parliament in just a couple of weeks!

Tell our MEPs to prioritise citizens’ voices over corporate interests and to protect us all from the real dangers of endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine Disruptors
An Investigation
  1. The Manufacture of a Lie.
  2. A Denial of the State of the Science.
  3. The Interference of the United States.
  4. The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby.

Reporting side effects of medicines

EU Medicines Agency‏ survey on safety of medications and reporting of adverse drug reactions

This EU Medicines Agency survey, will take approximately 5 to 10 minutes of your time to complete. It will help understand the awareness of patients/consumers and healthcare professionals regarding the need and the way they can report adverse drug reactions (side effects). The results will be analysed by the European Medicines Agency and a report containing summary information will be provided to the European Commission (DG SANTE) and will be further disseminated publicly.

EMA launches survey to assess whether patients and doctors are aware of the arrangements for reporting of side effects – European Medicines Agency, the European Union agency responsible for the evaluation and supervision of medicinesEMA_News/status/905720311445893120, 7 sept. 2017.

Addressing endocrine disrupting chemicals requires an integrated strategy

It is time to disrupt business as usual and put the health of the current and future generations first

The dangers of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) for human health and the environment have long been documented and the evidence keeps piling up every day, yet Europe’s approach to this challenge has been lukewarm, writes Genon Jensen, he Executive Director of Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL).

From bisphenol A to cadmium or a whole variety of pesticides, we are all exposed to EDCs. However, as the debacle on the identification criteria of endocrine disruptors for pesticides illustrates, the European approach to this emerging challenge lacks ambition. Not only does it fail to follow the latest scientific developments, but also to acknowledge the societal demands for a transition to safer alternatives.

On 4 July, a European Commission proposal for criteria to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals for pesticides was agreed by representatives of EU governments – the end of a four-year process.

For health and environment advocates, scientists, or public interest groups such as health professionals or non-profit insurers, these criteria have a bitter and toxic taste. Leaving aside the significant corporate lobbying interference in the process, one is struck by the health and economic burden that a lack of ambition and political will result in for society.

According to a conservative estimate, diseases arising from exposure to EDCs weigh at least €163 billion on European public health budgets.

Meanwhile, urine tests and hair samples from populations all across Europe show the presence of chemicals that should not be there in people’s bodies: for instance, a study carried out in France in 2015 found no less than 21 endocrine disruptors’ residues per women tested, including toxic chemicals that have been banned from the market.

Keeping these numbers in mind, addressing the emerging challenges posed by the exposition to endocrine disruptors across their uses (beyond pesticides, from cosmetics to food packages, or toys) based on precaution and consistency appears both an urgent and obvious need.

Unfortunately, the criteria agreed are narrow, insufficient, impractical, and they will make it very difficult – if not impossible – to prove that a pesticide is disrupting the endocrine system.

Why does this matter? Because the higher the burden of the proof and the bigger the loopholes in the identification criteria, the longer the products will remain on the market, leaving people exposed to their effects and weighing heavily on public health budgets.

What should be done now?

The battle over the identification criteria for pesticides is not completely over yet. After the summer, the European Parliament will be asked to vote on the European Commission proposal – either to sign it off or to veto it.

This is an important opportunity for MEPs to echo the existing concerns, give a voice to almost 500,000 citizens who have asked for more protective criteria without being heard. Therefore, MEPs should reject the current criteria and defend an ambitious approach that reflects the latest state of science.

Traces of endocrine disrupting chemicals are found everywhere, including in our bodies, which means that we are all concerned by their effects. The Endocrine Disruption Exchange lists about 1,300 potential EDCs, and many more suspected substances need to be investigated.

While scientists and public interest groups are doing their share to address this emerging challenge, decision-makers should have the courage to take political steps that are already available. This can start in the European Parliament with the rejection of the flawed pesticides criteria.

It is time to disrupt business as usual and put the health of the current and future generations first.

An Investigation
  1. The Manufacture of a Lie.
  2. A Denial of the State of the Science.
  3. The Interference of the United States.
  4. The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby.
Endocrine Disruptors

EU criteria used to identify EDCs must be transparent and secure a high level of protection

The Endocrine Society urges EU Parliament to be transparent around EDC criteria

Washington, DC – Earlier this week, Member States of the European Union voted in favor of draft criteria to define endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The Endocrine Society is extremely concerned that the criteria will fail to identify EDCs that are currently causing human harm and will not secure a high level of health and environmental protection.

The world’s largest organization of endocrinologists is therefore urging the European Parliament to improve transparency surrounding the process for implementing the criteria and to engage endocrine scientists in further decision-making steps.

An EDC is a chemical or mixture of chemicals that can cause adverse health effects by interfering with hormones in the body. There are more than 85,000 manufactured chemicals, of which thousands may be EDCs. EDCs are found in everyday products and throughout the environment.

The criteria on EDCs cannot be called science-based as it contains arbitrary exemptions for chemicals specifically designed to disrupt target insect endocrine systems that have similarities in humans and wildlife. Earlier, the Endocrine Society, the European Society for Endocrinology, and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology released a statement strongly objecting to the addition of loopholes in the criteria as they create frameworks where potentially dangerous chemicals cannot be defined as EDCs by law.

The three societies urge Member States to work towards improved criteria for the identification of EDCs by incorporating the following recommendations:

  1. Removing the exemption for biocides and pesticides designed to act on endocrine systems;
  2. Adhering to a science-based definition of EDCs that include categories for known EDCs and chemicals for which more information is needed to make a determination; and
  3. Maintaining a hazard-based identification system without derogations based on risk.

The European Parliament will vote on the criteria in the coming months, and we encourage the Parliament to gather input from endocrine scientists and professional endocrine associations during their deliberations. Further details regarding the implementation of the criteria still need to be worked out, and we call for transparency on how the contributions from endocrine scientists will be given due consideration in the process by EFSA, ECHA, and the European Commission.

Image credit Sarah-Jane.

An Investigation
  1. The Manufacture of a Lie.
  2. A Denial of the State of the Science.
  3. The Interference of the United States.
  4. The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby.
Endocrine Disruptors

Coalition of more than 70 NGOs call on EU Parliament to reject EDC criteria

EDC-Free Europe coalition, Press Release, July 4, 2017

Brussels, 4 July 2017 – Today, representatives of European member states from the EU pesticides committee adopted the criteria that are supposed to be used to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals (or EDCs) in the future.

The EDC-Free coalition regrets the insufficiency of the criteria adopted today, which will not guarantee the level of protection for human health and the environment that is urgently needed and that scientists and citizens are calling for from across the EU. Ahead of the vote, three highly respected international scientific societies of endocrinology raised the alarm bell about the shortcomings of the proposed criteria, urging member states not to approve them in their current state. Meanwhile, over 458,000 people all across Europe signed a petition calling on member states to reject the EU Commission’s proposal.

The main concerns of the EDC-Free coalition are as follows:

  • The criteria require a very high burden of proof, which makes the identification of substances as EDCs very difficult and is likely to result in long delays.
  • The proposed exemption from identification for certain pesticides and biocides that are designed to be endocrine disrupting would strongly undermine the objective of the EU pesticides and biocides law to phase out the use of EDCs.
  • The criteria contradict the EU commitment to horizontal EDC criteria and minimisation of EDC exposures as decided in the 7th Environmental Action Programme.

“Strong EDC criteria would allow Europe to lead the world by example and to initiate urgently needed measures to reduce our unnecessary exposure to toxic substances. The criteria voted today contain a flawed loophole and require such a high level of proof that they will not protect people or wildlife. We call on the European Parliament to reject these criteria”

says Genon K. Jensen,
EDC-Free Europe spokesperson.

While Sweden and Denmark defended an ambitious approach to protect human health and the environment until the final vote, the EDC-Free Europe coalition regrets the last-minute change of position of France, which is in total contradiction to the electoral promises of Emmanuel Macron and promises made in the run up to the vote. The overall lack of foresight/vision of EU member states will result in significant costs for public health and society. A conservative estimate found that the current burden on public health budgets from the diseases arising from exposure to EDCs in the European Union is estimated to be at least 163 billion Euro per year.

Read NGOs acknowledge vote on first ever EDC criteria – call on European Parliament to reject flawed criteria for the sake of human health and environment protection, edc-free-europe, July 4, 2017.

An Investigation
  1. The Manufacture of a Lie.
  2. A Denial of the State of the Science.
  3. The Interference of the United States.
  4. The Discreet but Major Gift to the Pesticides Lobby.
Endocrine Disruptors

Evaluations Applied to Glyphosate Data are Scientifically Flawed and Fail to Protect Public Health

Open Letter from Dr. Christopher Portier, Cancer Expert, on His Review of the Carcinogenicity of Glyphosate European Union Authorities

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has received an embarrassing letter last Monday 29 May, 2017.

Christopher Portier, world-renowned toxicologist and biostatistician, former director of several US federal research institutions, has had access to data from confidential studies on glyphosate – those transmitted by industrialists to European authorities. He discovered information that had gone so far unnoticed.

Executive Summary

The European Food Safety Agency IEFSA) and the European Chemical Agency IEChA) have completed their assessments of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate and concluded that the evidence does not support a classification for glyphosate.

The raw data for the animal cancer studies for glyphosate have been released, and a reanalysis of these data show eight instances where significant increases in tumor response following glyphosate exposure were not included in the assessment by either EFSA or EChA.

This suggests that the evaluations applied to the glyphosate data are scientifically flawed, and any decisions derived from these evaluations will fail to protect public health.

I ask that the evaluations by both EFSA and EChA be repeated for all toxicological endpoints and the data underlying these evaluations be publicly released.

Christopher Portier,
Former Director US National Center for Environmental Health
Former Director US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Former Associate Director, US National Institute of Environmental Health
Sciences
Former Associate Director US National Toxicology Program
Fellow, American Statistical Association
Fellow, International Statistics Institute